The Detroit Red Wings have matched their win total from last season with today’s 1-0 shootout victory over the rival Tampa Bay Lightning. They now have 18 wins and 45 points in 53 games played, as opposed to last year’s dead-last 17 wins in 71 games (prior to the COVID-19 shutdown).
And while this will mark their 5th straight year on the outside looking in of the Stanley Cup Playoffs, there’s been reason for optimism. Just ask head coach Jeff Blashill.
“We are a much better hockey team this year than we were a year ago,” Blashill said after today’s game. “We’ve won a number of games with young guys in the lineup and that’s a big thing for our organization. That shouldn’t discredit the older guys in the lineup because we had a number of them that have really done a great job here.
“We’re a better defensive teams. Large parts of the year we’ve had better moxie with the puck.”
Not only are Detroit’s defensive numbers better than last season, but their offensive output has jumped 11 spots up from last season as well. Additionally, they’ve been getting good goaltending from their tandem of Jonathan Bernier and Thomas Greiss.
“We’re clearly a better defensive team,” Blashill said. “I don’t necessarily believe in a whole bunch of stats that you can make an argument for one way or another, but we’ve got stats we trust, like Grade A (scoring chances) against in different situations, Grade A’s against for the season. We’re giving our goalies a chance to make saves on a more consistent basis.”
The Red Wings have three games remaining on their regular season schedule.
– – Quotes via Detroit Red Wings Twitter Feed Link – –